tv [untitled] December 2, 2012 6:30am-7:00am PST
in this district and the reason that a similar request for sterling bank in 2005 in this location was disapproved by the commission. and conditions in the neighborhood have not changed. last october the [speaker not understood] restaurant burned down. local merchants association and other groups used the restaurant as a meeting place. sterling bank has offered to allow merchants and others to use the 545 square foot rear portion in this space now occupied by the bank office as a community meeting room. the need for such a community meeting space will decrease when the [speaker not understood] is reconstructed. the department has received letters of support for the project from the greater west portal merchants association, greater west portal neighborhood association and three additional letters of support from area merchants. the department recommends disapproval of the project as the project -- excuse me, as the west portal neighborhood is
well served by existing banks and other financial institutions in the district and the project would remove a ground floor commercial space from the market eliminating the opportunity for its use as the sigh as the neighborhood serving retail use. i'll be happy to answer any questions you have. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> project sponsor, please. good evening, president fong and commissioners, my name is steve adams. i am the managing director of the sterling bank and trust here in san francisco. and, yes, we did try to open up a limited use bank branch several years ago and we were denied. things have changed in these last six years. first off, we are a limited use bank bran. . we are not a full bank branch. the other institutions * that were described are national banks. we are community banks.
we are a community bank based here in san francisco. with our branches here in san francisco and one in burlingame. for six years i have tried to lease out this space. i have had gladys real estate and cb ellis try to rent the space out. i had one offer from a company called cheaper cigarette. and because of my neighborhood, because i get involved in other neighborhood groups, i could not lease that space out to a cigarette vendor. and, so, i've had no other offers in that many years. and then i've had no offers for the last three years since that offer and it's just sitting there vacant. i did, even before the fire, i did know there was a need for a community room on west portal
avenue, not only for the merchants, but for the greater west portal neighborhood association was looking at a space their board can meet at. and i also offered that space to other community groups who do need that. and we set up a set of guidelines that we submitted to planning. i've done extensive community outreach with both the west portal merchants, the greater west portal neighborhood association. i've sat down with numerous individuals one on one and i've gotten no opposition personally to myself on this project. so, i'm respectfully asking that you approve my conditional use application for 115 west portal. thank you. >> thank you. is there any public comment? okay. mary [speaker not understood] thev [inaudible]. >> thank you very much.
matthew rodgers. good evening, commissioners. thank you for hearing us. i grew up on west portal, i'm a merchant and president of the west portal merchants association. i ask you to support the sterling's permit to [speaker not understood] 115 west portal avenue and they're not your average bank and that's what we like about them. they have a small footprint. we hope in the future more banks will follow that formula. i have a feeling in the future you'll see that coming before you more often. i think they make for a great model. they're a community outreach and their presentation to us was quite impressive. i don't think they are just another bank. they are very local san francisco community bank. their offer was very enticing to us and we've accepted graciously their offer for the community meeting room. excuse me, there was one more thing i wanted to say.
but it does not come to mind. i urge you to approve this. that's what it was. the merchants association did several outreach programs with little or no resistance. the last meeting we had was -- the consensus of the meeting was why would they disapprove the last time and why is this becoming an issue now? we've had a vacant business on the block for six years. we do not want to go with another three or four more years of having a vacant unit just because of a policy or what have you. we appreciate the stipulations that are in our policy. but every once in a while we need to make an exception. i don't think this project is an exception or an impedance on the avenue and will serve the avenue. thank you for your time. >> thank you. good evening, my name is matt rodgers. i'm the owner of [speaker not
understood] hardware on west portal avenue. [speaker not understood]. i've seen a lot of ups and downs on the street. i'm here to urge your support for this project for the conditional use. and you might think it's a little strange of someone saying, hey, you want to put a bank in a retail spot? why would you want to do that? it's going to take away from the street. this is not an ordinary bank. it's a community bank. and unlike all those big banks that were mentioned, you can sit down and talk to these people. they understand what merchants need to sort of build the community to kind of invigorate what is happening. i think it's a modest request for 200 square feet. the place has been vacant. and i think it should be filled with some people that are ready to be active in the neighborhood. when this was first mentioned, i checked around with some other commercial districts that have sterling branches and i called merchants that we know. and said, hey, are they the
real deal? do they really support -- are they active? and it came back up aloe questionv li yes, they support the neighborhood. they're volunteer. they support financially. and west portal needs that. we're a small commercial district. times are changing these last 20 years with internet and whatnot. * and we need to attract more business he and that's not going to happen by itself. we want to invigorate the street and i'm looking forward to partnering with sterling bank on this. so, urging your approval. thank you. >> thank you. good evening, commissioners. tim colin speaking only for myself. my family is a 20-year resident of west portal. we do shopping there, eat there, the movies are there, my wife worked in the book shop there. we love west portal. in a former lifetime i was president of the greater west portal neighborhood association for four years and i remember the discussion -- you know, i
think it's seven years that's been a vacancy on the avenue. and it was a ritz camera before. it's a little tiny store. the ncd, the west portal ncd was put in place, i think greater west portal neighborhood association had a hand in it in the '70s, my good friend howard strassner. there was an impression financial institutions are invading our neighborhood, we have to put a restriction on how many can come in. otherwise we'll lose the character of our neighborhood. that was done. and, you know, it's hard to imagine that the conditions that applied in the '70s are applicable now, especially as charles schwab, a bank, how do you define it? i think that the neighborhood is much more at risk or harmed by having a vacant store front for seven years than to bring in a willing tenant that's willing to participate in the community. the other thing the ncd did, and i give howard grief for it every time i see him. they put a 26 foot height limit
on west portal, which is, you know, it's awful now. it's haunting us now. so, i think the rules that went into place in the '70s don't apply. this is a great opportunity to help our neighborhood. thank you. >> additional public comment on this item? okay. seeing none, the public comment portion is closed. commissioner antonini. >> thank you. i'm very much in favor of this proposal and i also live in the neighborhood in west side -- west lakeside village. i'm sorry, west portal frequently. and there are a lot of vacancies. and this particular space is tiny. its frontage is 11-1/2 feet. and, so, it's a very hard thing to fill. and we are losing businesses partly because of what's happening online and i hope
that doesn't continue because, you know, i don't shop online and i discourage other people from doing it because it just knocks out jobs for people in retail places. but until we have that turn around, there is going to be this problem with trying to get retail to be vital and there's lots of other spaces. the other thing that impresses me, they're taking 545 feet of their space and turning it into a community room. and the argument that the merchants will go back to meeting and squat and gobble and rebuilt, which will be quite a while. begs a question. a lot of meetings you have, you don't necessarily want to include food and drink also. i go to meetings of the lakeside property owners association. we meet in the church over near stones town. and i would think of people like st. francis would, which i don't think they have their own meeting place, unlike forest hill. this would be a multitude of
different groups who would take advantage of this. and the other thing we should be concentrating on, and this has nothing to do with this approval,v but we have a lot of land uses that are not appropriate. they're back to the '60s. i'm pointing out in particular wells fargo and some of the title companies where they have single level bran etches that are bigger than they need to be and there's lots of parking in the back. and while parking is important like anyplace else, it could be put below grade and as tim colin spoke about the 26-foot height limit is unrealistic because many of the older buildings in west portal are more than two floors. and then they put this limit in probably in the '70s or maybe even before that, which is unrealistically low. so, i'm in favor of this and i would move to approve. >> second. >> commissioner moore.
>> i have a question. my understanding was that we actually included branch banks in the formula retail definition, and you said we did not. >> no, let me clarify that, commissioner. we do consider branch banks to be formula retail. however, within that definition it exempts the limited financial services that are less than 200 square feet. >> i appreciate you saying that. the other question i have for you, what this project does not do, and i am a little bit concerned about it, it does not have any disclosure about its physical vertical manifestation on the street. we're seeing a plan and the plan obviously gives us dimensional ideas. however, what this thing will look like on the outside is unclear to me. the reason why i'm asking that question is that several months ago we approved a project and
when it was built the community came to us and said that they were very, very disturbed about what they thought we approved and what they got was completely different. that speak to the height of the sign, the location of the sign and a little bit concerned that the current glazing is more like the opaque, looks like your sunglasses type glazing. i had hoped that there would be more disclosure relative to transparent glass, some understanding of a friendly face to the neighbors. signage which does not overwhelm an 11 foot 6 facade and on and on and on. so, i think i need a little bit more information to be supportive of this project. i am understanding of the difficulties of seven years of an empty space. however, what i am approving here does not have the type of disclosure i'm looking for. >> commissioner, it's my understanding they don't plan
to make many changes to the store front. but i would let the sponsor, people at the bank speak to that. >> would you please explain to us what your thoughts are? yes, i'm planning on basically keeping the facade the same. i'm cleaning up the store front. and the sign is going to be a lot smaller sign than what's there now. if you wanted to put in your motion -- put your concerns in the motion, i wouldn't have a problem with that. i'm basically going to be cleaning up the front of that building. >> what are your thoughts about the glazing? is it tinted glazing in >> what do you mean by tinted glazing in >> it has like a brownish tone versus a more clear transparent glazing. [inaudible]. >> anybody does. >> [speaker not understood].
i've been sitting here too lock. we can change the glazing. * i think while we try not to [speaker not understood] we try to avoid doing any preservation, historical study. this building what built a long time ago and there is a chance we might need to do historical [speaker not understood] if you change the store front. we're not certain about we have to do it or not, but we decided to keep the store front -- keep the existing aluminum frame. but if the commission feels like we need to change to clear glass, we're happy to do it. the signage we've got is going to be under sign permit. it will meet the planning code [speaker not understood]. >> i'm not sure if we're stretching it here. i would be very interested in
upgrading glazing and overall store appearance. do we indeed glad [speaker not understood] fresh life out of building that has been sitting vacant seven years, a different type of glazing, a more contemporary or type of framing would probably appreciate. i do not want to add any [speaker not understood]. but the upgrading of the space which i normally would have problems with given the assessment of the department, would have to really come forward in the very positive way in order to be supportable for me. so, if that is acceptable, then i would like to make a -- or add to the motion, i think i see commissioner antonini supporting me on that, that the facade would be brought up to a more kind of improved contemporary appearance with transparent or glazing and the signage which obviously falls within the rules of the
department recommends for this area. >> commissioner, if i may, the staff has prepared a motion of disapproval. so, you need to take a motion of intent to approve and then continue this item to two weeks from now or -- >> we need time to prepare the motion. >> right. >> what are the specifics of what we are basically given that direction. >> depending upon how quickly staff can put that together, you should continue that out to december 13th or even to january, potentially put it on consent. >> okay. >> so, i would modify my motion to make it intent to approve. i would continue to december 13th and i would also add the recommendations of commissioner moore to, you know, the clear glazing and try to -- without changing any facade severely that it would trigger the historic but perhaps the framing could be changed from aluminum, which i doubt is
historical to something that might be a little nicer appearance. that would be the motion. >> second. >> i just wanted to make one clarification. excuse me, commission. if the planner would be able to work with that date of december 13th. >> that would be -- the motion would need to come to you next week. >> that way you can work on it. >> is that doable? >> it will be tight. it would be tight. my supervisor has to review it and come to you. they're going to want -- we'll want them to give us a facade drawing. >> we have two meetings left this year. i believe the second one is the 13th and the next available meeting would be january 10th. >> if the sponsor is okay, i would just as soon do it in january. >> i guess if it's going to be
a hardship, i'd get it done sooner than later. if it isn't ready by the 10th or the december 13th, we could always continue it. >> that is certainly an option. >> >> let's try to go for the 13th. if it doesn't work, we'll continue it. * >> all right, commissioners. on that motion of intent to approve and a continuance to december 13th, commissioner antonini. >> aye. >> commissioner borden in >> aye. >> commissioner moore? >> aye. >> commissioner sugaya? >> aye. >> commissioner wu? >> aye. >> and commission president fong? >> aye. >> so moved, commissioners. that motion passes 6 to 1. excuse me, 6 to 0. commissioners, that will place you on item -- >> can i have a request? our person is on our way back. is it possible to change with item 20 and be made last? if you want us to present we will, but we just [speaker not understood]. >> i have to keep things rolling if you don't mind.
keep it in the order they're on the agenda. thank you. >> okay, commissioners. item 19, 2012.0859d, 70 crestline drive, request for staff initiated discretionary review. >> good evening, commission president fong, members of the planning commission. department staff tom lam presenting a initial discretionary review on the property 70 crestline drive. the proposal is to subdivide
the existing lot into two lots. and currently the subject lot contains a five-story over garage, 14-unit building. and [speaker not understood] subdivision, one southerly lot will contain the existing 14 unit building and the new vacant northerly lot will be [speaker not understood]. and then there is a five-story over garage four-unit new building is proposed on that [speaker not understood] vacant lot. as we reviewed, the application and the circumstantial evidence is the department does not support this application and it recommends to disapprove. the reason s are as follows. this is a small neighborhood
existing within [speaker not understood] neighborhood. * it's a unique neighborhood and the reasons that it was developed around 1965 and contains a significant number of multi-unit residential buildings. and the one unit [speaker not understood] develop a number of lots containing a residential building, a remainder of the lot is maintains as a open space. and during a site visit [speaker not understood] identified there were five lots on the subject block and a number of other lots on the adjacent block they are developed in this way. this application, basically it was not -- it is not consistent with the purpose of the planning code in that it will
not preserve and protect the [speaker not understood] vista san francisco very many. it will not be a beneficial infill project in the san francisco development. [speaker not understood] and congestion of population in the san francisco development. if the project were approved, it would result in an inappropriate precedent or expectation for similar infill projects elsewhere in the vista francisco development. the current project is a similar to an earlier project submitted in december 1998 under a minimum lot frontage variance application, case no. 198.999 d. the owner of the subject property subsequently withdrew the 1998 variance application
because there was strong opposition and the realization that the zoning administrator intended to deny the variance application. and the owner [speaker not understood] since 1998. * from the current application, not to mention the previous application received numerous opposition from the neighborhood, from the residents in the subject building and from the surrounding residential buildings. and today we receive more than 40 letters and/or e-mails opposed, in opposition to this application. and also the staff visit reveals that the circumstances surrounding the subject property in this neighborhood do not appear to have changed since a similar proposal was submitted in 1998.
go ahead, start talking. good evening, commissioners. i'm the architect for this project. this is our proposal for 70 crestline. one thing i want to clarify is that i was hired to design this project from scratch in 2007. this project is not the 1998 submittal that was withdrawn, and i have no relationship to that project whatsoever. can you hear me from here? our site is at the base of twin peaks. it is unique in the sense that it's adjacent to vista lane shown in red. this is a right-of-way which [speaker not understood] allows
the public to come up through the neighborhood and to the base of the twin peaks natural area. our proposed project is a four-family infill, a small development that is [speaker not understood] to the fabric of the existing neighborhood. and it will be framing the vista lane steps in a similar manner as the other buildings down here from vista lane. the steps [speaker not understood] and the setbacks match the existing buildings as you can see in this model.
and there is a side yard separating our building from the neighbors. so, there is no interference with light, air, or privacy for the neighbors. also space for the steps is 19 feet wide which is practically similar to the other spaces that cover the stairs through the neighborhood. this is our building is seen from [speaker not understood] drive. it is among the existing buildings and these are the steps going up the hill. this project follows all the design guidelines, residential design guidelines for the planning. it doesn't require any variance. and actually, we worked for four years with staff, collaborating to fine tune this project until we were informed that actually it was not
appropriate for the site. this is how the building is seen from the above crestline. as you see, it has no interference whatsoever with public views from the hill, and it's a very minor intervention within the you areurban [speaker not understood] formed by existing neighboring buildings. so, the entrance to three of the four units is directly from the steps. so, our presentation was to open up as much as allows the facade overlooking the steps. and, so, the idea is that with generous openings in the building, especially with terraces -